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of our collective deliberations. as bill clinton might say, it's just arithmetic. in fact, this situation of a divided government has only two possible outcomes -- action based upon good faith compromise or no action resulting from political dead lock, and in my position, the latter, is not acceptable to the people of maine and to the people of the united states. we must find a way to act, because many of the problems before us, the debt and deficit is probably the best example, have a time fuse. the longer we avoid acting, the worse they get. in this case, no decision is itself a decision, and it is almost undoubtedly the wrong decision. the challenges before us are too great and the stakes are too high to allow partisan differents to keep us from finding common ground even on the most difficult issues, and i hope that in a small way, in a small way i may be able to act as a brim between the parties, an on -- bridge between the parties, an honest broker to help nudge us toward solutions. i talked to more than a dozen senators of both parties in the past three days and have been impressed
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